Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making rustic wood shutters

I thought I would share how I made the rustic wood shutters.
You can create them the way I did or paint then for your finished effect.

Step 1
Measure out the size you want your shutter to be. Standard would be full height of your window and half of the width of the window. Cut out a piece of Balsa wood. Balsa wood is easy to use because it is soft and you can cut it with an X-acto knife. I used a Pilot Hole Punch tool from my Dollhouse electricity kit and a ruler to create the three indentations. So it appears there are 4 pieces of wood side by side.

Step 2
The next step is to stain all your wood. You will need 1/4 wide planks (You can get all the wood at craft stores) as well as the shutters you have cut out. I prefer Minwax Woodsheen because it has varnish in it that makes the balsa wood hard when it dries. You can also mix stain colors to get the tone you want, as I did. Use two coats to get a rich color. Let dry.

Step 3
Cut your planks to equal the width of the shutter. Two pieces per shutter. A mini miter box makes this easier to get a straight cut. Trim any rough edges with the X-acto knife.

Step 4
Using Wood glue and a toothpick put 3 tiny dabs of glue on the planks and adhere to the shutters. As you finish one shutter put the next one beside the finished one to be sure you line up the planks evenly. I put my glue on a small piece of wax paper for easy clean up.

Step 5
Now put a small amount of Acrylic black paint on the same wax paper and use a small paintbrush that the tip comes to a point. Get enough paint on the tip to make small dots that have some rounded height to them but stay the width that a miniature nail would be. Put one dab per “vertical” plank along your horizontal plank. So in this case “four” dabs.
You will also need some tiny rings that will be used as handles. You can make your own out of wire or get some in the jewelry section of a craft store. While holding them with your tweezers, paint those black on the outside, inside and front (you won’t see the back). Let them dry on the wax paper. Take some flat headed pins and use a wire cutter to cut about 1/8th off the top.

Step 6
Use the Pilot Hole Punch tool to make a hole in the shutter where the handle will be. Use the tweezers to pick up the pin top, dab the cut end in glue and put it in the hole with the flat top facing up. Dab with black paint. Pick up a painted wire circle with the tweezers, dab one tiny back section in the glue. Hang on the pin top so the glue section is making contact with the pin top. Touch up any place on the ring and pin with black paint. Let dry standing up straight so the handle leans as a real handle would. Touch up the sides of the planks with brown glue to match the stain.

Hopefully that all made sense if not, be sure to ask me any questions!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Creating a Story

While I am waiting to get new photos of my Villa I thought I would share somethings that I have learned along the way. I wanted to talk about staging and creating an atmosphere in your little house. It's all personal preference of course but I find the houses I like the most have small stories all around them if you look close. Above is a story about a naughty kitten getting into a basket of yarn. Or a surfer barbecue with lots of grub.

FYI those chips are dried bell pepper seeds! Just scrape them out of the pepper as you are slicing it for dinner. Put them on a paper towel and let them dry out. Pour them into a tiny bowl and let your imagination take over!

I read a while ago that the best way to achieve a story is to really dig deep into who the residents are. What are their names/careers/hobbies, what time of day is it? Capture a moment in time. Also I find when it's packed with things and there is tighter spaces the more I'm drawn in. This is hard for me because I like a spacious room in real size life! If you have a tight budget and make a lot of the items yourself be sure to spend a little on a few important fancy pieces this will make the room feel like you spent more then you actually did.

I also highly recommend aging things a bit. I know new things are so nice to look at but just by adding a little wear and tare to the center of each step of the stairs or ash build up around the fire place. Things that make a home lived in. Well that's all I have time for right now. ; )


Wednesday, December 17, 2008